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Family Economics News National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA October 2010

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) works with land-grant university partners and others to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities through national program leadership and federal assistance. Among the agency’s goals is to support increased economic opportunities and quality of life in rural areas. Family economics aligns with this goal by focusing on how individuals and families obtain and use resources such as money, time, human capital, material resources, and community services; by exploring the relationship between individuals and families and the larger economy; and by studying the impact of public issues, policies, and programs on family economic well-being.

Back issues of Family Economics News are available. To submit items for consideration for this newsletter, contact Jim Terry, NIFA program analyst.

Research/Program Evaluation

  • The Effectiveness of Financial Education and Counseling

  • Personal Finance eXtension FAQ Evaluation

  • Podcasts in Extension Education


  • Small Steps to Health and Wealth:Fall 2010 Online Challenge

  • America Saves Week 2011

  • eXtension: Get Answers to Consumer Questions


  • Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud

  • Financial Literacy Update

  • Retirement Made Simpler


  • Call for Papers:

    • Journal of Consumer Affairs

    • Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues

    • Journal of Financial Therapy

    • Journal of Extension

    • W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Family Income and Assets

    • 2010 ACCI

    • Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal#1

    • Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal #2
  • Funding:


    • FINRA Investor Education Foundation

    • National Endowment for Financial Education

    • MMI Financial Education Foundation

    • The Center for Financial Services Innovation



The Effectiveness of Financial Education and Counseling

An article by J. Michael Collins and Collin O'Rourke of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Fall 2010 issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs synthesizes 41 financial education and counseling program evaluations."Financial Education and Counseling-Still Holding Promise" looks across evaluations to draw general conclusions about the state of the research on financial education and counseling's effectiveness. The article is perhaps the most comprehensive compilation of program evaluations on financial education and counseling to date, and as such it is an excellent resource for individuals interested in identifying past studies in this field. The authors note that while the vast majority of studies conclude financial education and counseling are beneficial across an array of outcome measures, common methodological weaknesses raise concerns about past findings. In general, evaluations with the most rigorous designs indicate that financial education and counseling yield quite small improvements in knowledge and behavior. Unfortunately, evaluations frequently cited as evidence of financial education and counseling's benefits are often those with the least robust designs. After detailing the importance of incorporating theory into program design and evaluation, the authors conclude with ideas for practitioners and researchers.

Personal Finance eXtension FAQ Evaluation

“We would like your feedback on this personal finance frequently asked question.” Anyone who accesses one of the personal finance FAQs on eXtension has seen that sentence at the end of the FAQ.  Since April 2008, 58 respondents have completed usable feedback surveys. The feedback consists of three questions plus a space for additional comments. The questions relate to the usefulness of the FAQ information, how much information the user learned, and the respondent’s plans to use the information.  Nearly 71 percent of respondents reported that the information was useful and 43 percent said they learned quite a bit or a lot more new information. Fifty percent of the respondents said they definitely plan to put the information to use, and an additional 17 percent said they may put the information to use.  In many ways the respondent’s comments have been the most helpful part of the feedback. Comments that illustrate the value of the FAQs to the respondent include:  “I am so amazed how easy it was to use this website. The answer to my question came back immediately, along with more helpful information. I am amazed how fast I received a personal response and the quality (in depth) of the response. This is a fantastic website…I think you are the best-kept secret of the Internet.” “Concise; direct to the question; will pass on.” “It’s wonderful to have clear and understandable banking information from a source you can trust, a source that does not have its own agenda and so might give biased information.” “I didn’t know what I didn’t know! I would not have thought to even ask that question! Thank you!!!” “Thanks so much for this info—our family members have different opinions about keeping these and this is very helpful!!!” “The information helped me, as her mother, reinforce and give new information to what I was able to suggest. Thanks so much.”

In other cases respondent’s comments suggest clarifications or additions are needed to increase the value of the FAQ. The COP follows up by editing individual FAQs where this type of comment is received.  A process that started in 2008 as a “quick and easy” effort to get started with program evaluation for a new eXtension COP has begun to yield valuable information for the COP.  Feedback shows how users are using FAQs and where additions are needed to make the information more useful. 

To learn more, visit the eXtension website and read the article called Financial Security for All FAQ Evaluation September 2010.

Podcasts in Extension Education

The article examines the viability of podcast use to provide financial education for college students by extension educators. A focus group study of college students was conducted by a team of extension educators from the University of Minnesota Extension related to the potential use of podcasts. Eight focus groups were conducted at a variety of colleges throughout the upper Midwest. Researchers found podcasts are not a stand-alone educational approach, but potentially a tool in a blended learning approach. Implications for using podcast and other technologies in Extension education are discussed.


Small Steps to Health and Wealth:Fall 2010 Online Challenge

The online Fall 2010 Small Steps to Health and Wealth (SSHW) Challenge will run for 6 weeks, from October 3 to November 13. Prizes will be awarded to participants with the top scores and daily motivational messages will be sent via email. Extension educators are encouraged to develop local wrap-around programs. This is the final pilot test of the online SSHW Challenge website before it becomes available for licensing for use by Extension educators nationwide in 2011 for state or county-specific online challenges.

America Saves Week 2011

Planning has begun for America Saves Week 2011, February 20-27, 2011. America Saves Week is a nationwide campaign in which a broad coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government groups help individuals and families save and build wealth. Through information, advice, and encouragement America Saves assists those who wish to pay down their debt, build an emergency fund, or save for a home, education, or retirement. Cooperative Extension is a key partner in promoting America Saves Week 2011. Visit resource section the NIFA America Saves Week Web site for resources such as the Extension Educators’ Fact Sheet, the America Saves Impact Report, and more.   

eXtension: Get Answers to Consumer Questions

All extension offices and partner organizations are encouraged to link to eXtension’s Personal Finance page to help consumers get quick, research-based answers to personal finance questions. For example, visit the America Saves website and on the right-hand side you will see: A personal finance expert from Cooperative Extension can provide you with information and resources.(Note- the eXtension site provides personal finance education, not advice.)


Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud

The following comes from ASEC Partner, FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

Public television stations reaching communities around the country began airing “Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud” earlier this week.

This hour-long documentary developed by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation explores who is at risk to become a target of investment fraud, how fraudsters’ influence tactics can leave even the savviest person in a psychological haze, and the simple steps investors can take to prevent costly mistakes. The documentary also features interviews with real-life victims, convicted con criminals, experts in the study of fraud and persuasion, investigators, and securities regulators.

So far, stations and statewide networks in Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin have scheduled to air this important documentary. Visit for a list of the stations and times. The list will be updated as more stations add “Trick$ of the Trade” to their lineups, so check back often or consult local listings.

Don’t see your local public television station on the list? Write them and ask that they share “Trick$ of the Trade” with their viewers.

You can also order a free DVD version of “Trick$ of the Trade” via email (include the number of copies, your full name, and mailing address), by calling 866-973-4672, or by downloading and sending back our order form (PDF 41 KB).

“Trick$ of the Trade” is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and distributed nationally through American Public Television.

Financial Literacy Update

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Financial Literacy Update  is a bimonthly e-newsletter that reports upcoming financial literacy events, new initiatives, and related resources of the OCC and other government agencies and organizations. Visit the OCC website to sign up for the OCC’s “Financial Literacy Updates.”

Retirement Made Simpler

A study commissioned by Retirement Made Simpler, a collaborative campaign formed by AARP, FINRA, and the Retirement Security Project, found instituting automatic enrollment in the South Dakota State Supplemental Retirement Plan resulted in an incredible leap in participation rates.  Ninety-one percent of new, eligible employees are participating in the plan in units that adopted automatic enrollment, versus just 1 percent of new hires in units without it.  Read more about this study and automatic features.



Journal of Consumer Affairs (Open submissions)

Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning (Open submissions) 

Journal of Family and Economic Issues (Open submissions) 

Journal of Financial Therapy (Open submissions)

Journal of Extension (Open submissions)

W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Family Income and Assets (Open submissions)

2011 ACCI October 4

Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Influence of Technology on Individuals and Families. Deadline January 15, 2011.

Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Cultural Diversity from a Global Perspective. Deadline January 15, 2011.

FUNDING: is your source to find and apply for federal government grants. There are more than 1,000 grant programs offered by all federal grant-making agencies.

FINRA Investor Education Foundation Project concepts can be submitted on an open basis. The foundation will respond within 4-6 weeks. 

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a new grant competition in their  investment in financial literacy for FY 2010. Deadline September 9, 2010. 

U.S. Department of Education/ Council for Economic Education Excellence in Economic Education Program. To promote economic and financial literacy among students in kindergarten through grade 12. Deadline September 10, 2010. 

National Endowment for Financial Education The deadline for NEFE’s April 2011 grant cycle is December 7.

MMI Education Foundation The foundation uses its resources to serve the public interest and strengthen the communities where we live and work. The foundation provides periodic announcements and grant guidelines.

The Center for Financial Services Innovation is pleased to announce the launch of a new grant fund—the Financial Capability Innovation Fund—to support promising nonprofit-led  projects designed to help consumers better manage their finances and achieve financial prosperity. Deadline October 13.



Financial Planning Association, Denver, CO, October 9-10

North Central Coordinating Committee on Family Economics, October 21-22, Omaha, NE.

Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc., October 25-26   

Jump$tart National Educator Conference, November 5-7, Washington, DC

Pre-AFCPE Conference, November 17                    

AFCPE, November 17-19


ACCI Conference, April 13-15

National Urban Extension Conference, May 2-5, Des Moines, IA


Eastern Family Economics & Resource Management Biennial Conference, February 29–March 2

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.